Meet Our Spring 2020 Interns!

If you’ve ever met one of our wonderful F(r)iction staffers, you’ll quickly learn that almost every one of them was once an intern in our Publishing Internship Program.

This program is run by our parent nonprofit organization, Brink Literacy Project. While our publishing internships are a great way to get a crash course in the literary industry, they can often provide a path to what can become a long and rewarding professional relationship. For more information, please visit 
https://www.brinklit.org/education/internship/.

Delaney Heisterkamp

  1. What is your favorite place to read?  
    There used to be these wide, beige pillows just the size of a curled-up child body in my house—when I was little, I’d pull them into window squares of afternoon sunlight behind the couch and read for hours. Now, any 2-for-1 combo of warm and cozy will do: hot tea, blankets upon blankets, golden hour. Bonus points for the smell of fresh growing things or that deeply yellow light that sometimes occurs when it rains in the afternoon.
  2. You’re on a walk in the woods. It’s a lovely day, and you’re looking up at the blue sky and rustling leaves overhead—when you trip over something! It’s a magic wand! What does it look like? Do you pick it up, and if so, what do you do with it?
    I definitely pick up the wand—it’s wonderfully bizarre and arcane, like a branch from a lightning-struck tree or a polished antler or a slim malachite geode. It’s rare enough to be strange but also common enough to be a coincidence. When I experimentally slice the air with it, I blink and gasp in a winter grotto shiny with snow and moonlight. It is impossible to tell what when this is. Another swipe, and I’m ankle-deep in green water. The trees grow copper leaves overhead; a breeze blusters through in clicks and whirs. Another arcing motion takes me back to the blue sky and rustling leaves I began in. I hastily return the wand to where I found it, but I have to sit and collect myself for minutes or hours before I can leave it behind.
  3. How do you take your coffee? If you don’t drink coffee, describe your favorite beverage ritual.
    I’m more of a tea person myself, though I have been known to drink coffee in desperate times. There is nothing more intimate than someone preparing a cup of earl grey for you, just the way you like it.
  4. What is your favorite English word and why? Do you have a favorite word in another language?
    While choosing only one took some time (runners up, in no particular order: susurration, filament, ochre, occlude, dentulous, effervesce, arborescent, apocrypha), my current favorite is fabulist. The word has two delightfully juxtaposed definitions, ‘a writer of fables’ and ‘liar,’ and rolls around in your mouth with a rich, bright feel. Fantastical and poetic implications abound!

    In terms of another language, the first thing I thought of was hiraeth, a Welsh word that describes yearning for a home to which you cannot return, or a home which may never have been. According to Pamela Petro in her article “Dreaming in Welsh” in the Paris Review, “[t]o feel hiraeth is to feel a deep incompleteness and recognize it as familiar.” When I first learned the word in high school, it struck me as deeply elegiac and nostalgic. Now, I find it still resonates with me when I think about futurity—my own, and that of others in the same and subsequent generations.
  5. You’re on a deserted island. You have one album and one book. What are they and why?
    Finding myself on a deserted island would definitely feel a little uncanny and apocalyptic. San Fermin’s “The Cormorant I” and Hozier’s “Wasteland, Baby” are both albums I could imagine myself crooning and screaming to the ocean at various points during my descent into wildness. However, the book side of things is hard! I eventually settled on my current read, The Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, since I’d hate to leave it halfway-finished. It’s probably also thick enough to last me some time as survival kindling.
  6. If you could change one thing about the literary industry, what would it be?
    If I could change one thing, I would spur on decentralization. While we slowly seem to be acknowledging the industry’s current inaccessibility and economical exclusion (as well as all the ways this interacts with race, gender, ability, sexuality, etc.), we are a long way away from wholly rectifying these things.

Megan Walters

  1. What is your favorite place to read?  
    In bed with a mug of hot cocoa. 
  2. You’re on a walk in the woods. It’s a lovely day, and you’re looking up at the blue sky and rustling leaves overhead—when you trip over something! It’s a magic wand! What does it look like? Do you pick it up, and if so, what do you do with it?
    My wand is speckled with silver glitter, and I definitely can’t resist picking it up. I would use it to create the coffee shop I’ve always wanted to own, one that doubles as a bookstore and has a performance space for readings.
  3. How do you take your coffee? If you don’t drink coffee, describe your favorite beverage ritual.
    With cream and perhaps a sprinkle of sugar. 
  4. What is your favorite English word and why? Do you have a favorite word in another language?
    My favorite English word is quixotic, which means excessively idealistic and impractical. I think both this definition and the sound of it are beautiful. One of my favorite Spanish words is ensimismamiento. I’m not sure exactly how to translate it, but it refers to the sensation of being so lost in your own thoughts that you ignore your surroundings. 
  5. You’re on a deserted island. You have one album and one book. What are they and why?
    This is a hard question, but I think I would select the album Born To Die by Lana del Rey. Her lyrics and style really inspired me when I was younger, and I still enjoy her sound. For the book, I would choose the short story collection Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins, because of its complex characters and evocative imagery. I couldn’t put it down when I read it for the first time. 
  6. If you could change one thing about the literary industry, what would it be?
    I wish that it were more accessible. There are a lot of barriers, particularly financial, that prevent passionate readers and writers from entering it. I think this automatically limits the possibilities of what can happen in the world of popular literature. 

Madison Cotton

  1. What is your favorite place to read?  
    My favorite place to read is in my bed late at night on my phone when I should be sleeping.
  2. You’re on a walk in the woods. It’s a lovely day, and you’re looking up at the blue sky and rustling leaves overhead—when you trip over something! It’s a magic wand! What does it look like? Do you pick it up, and if so, what do you do with it?
    The wand feels brittle when I pick it up, like it’ll crumble like moon sand if I squeeze it too hard. It’s the same width all the way across, and I wonder if the light brown color is attributed to the moon’s illumination or the actual materials of the wand. Is it made of sand? Or maybe a really light oak. How do I know for sure this is a magic wand? I think as I let it tumble from my fingers into the palm of my hand. I weigh it and close my fist around one side. 

    Oh.

    I don’t know what else it could be besides magic. It electrifies me, making my hair stand on end and sending little muscle spasms up my arm. 

    This isn’t how I expected to find out I have powers. I was waiting for a messenger or a little animal familiar to come whisk me away to some real-world equivalent of Hogwarts or Fillory, but this will have to do. I let the wand fall from my hand and take deep breaths as my hairs lay back down and I regain control of my twitching arm. Gathering leaves in both hands, I grab the wand using the leaves as a buffer between the magic stick and my skin, and stuff it into my backpack which holds all sorts of interesting rocks and leaves. In due time I’ll figure out what to do with it. For now, I’ll live with this exhilarating secret, and wait until I can share it with the world. 
  3. How do you take your coffee? If you don’t drink coffee, describe your favorite beverage ritual.
    I prefer strong coffee with a little milk or cream and some sugar if I’m feeling festive. It can’t be too sweet though, or I’ll crash by 2 p.m. 
  4. What is your favorite English word and why? Do you have a favorite word in another language?
    My favorite English word is moist because of the visceral reaction it gives people which I think is hilarious. I like every French word ever because they sound so elegant, like charcuterie or l’horloge, I think they sound better than English. 
  5. You’re on a deserted island. You have one album and one book. What are they and why?
    The one album I’d take is XX by Loona, the Kpop girl group not only because I love every song on the album, but because it’s one of the many things my younger brother and I have bonded over. For that, I will always love it. I would bring Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell because I could relate to the main character being awkward, but I appreciate how Rowell didn’t make the character super insufferable or stupid. She was a normal girl with normal problems and I liked that she didn’t make me cringe. 
  6. If you could change one thing about the literary industry, what would it be?
    If I could change one thing about the literary industry it would be how much of a platform we give voices outside of the US. 

Craig Hartz

  1. What is your favorite place to read?  
    I have a giant blue La-Z-Boy that’s over twelve years old and falling apart that my roommate calls “the Blue Throne.” It’s a little ridiculous, honestly. It was my dad’s—I picked it out for him as a gift when he was deployed to Iraq. It was perfectly comfortable for me, but not so much for him, it turns out. When I graduated from High School and left for college, he told me it was mine if I could fit it in the car. I lofted my dorm-room bed almost to the ceiling to make room for it, and slept in it most of the year. When I joined the Army, it moved around with a few people who were generous enough to look after it for me. These days we’ve been reunited, and it’s a proper reading chair, still perfectly comfortable, and nestled between the five full-sized bookshelves I’ve managed to cram into my apartment in Denver.
  2. You’re on a walk in the woods. It’s a lovely day, and you’re looking up at the blue sky and rustling leaves overhead—when you trip over something! It’s a magic wand! What does it look like? Do you pick it up, and if so, what do you do with it?
    It’s a little worn, scuffed, and warped. It’s magic, so of course it fits perfectly in my hand—did it shiver and stretch and form itself as I picked it up, or is that just a trick of the light? Curious. But I use it: in one sweeping motion eliminating First Past the Post voting systems around the world and replacing them with something more representational (perhaps the Single Transferrable Vote, ahem). Some good in the world accomplished, I think. And then, just maybe, a little gift for myself—the ability to write perfect first drafts, perhaps.
  3. How do you take your coffee? If you don’t drink coffee, describe your favorite beverage ritual.
    At the risk of sounding like a snob, it depends on how good the coffee is. I started drinking coffee in the Army—Maxwell House, black, while deployed or in the field training. These days the coffee I drink is better, and so most of the time I still drink it that way, but I’ll add a bit of cream from time to time. Especially if it’s Maxwell House.
  4. What is your favorite English word and why? Do you have a favorite word in another language?
    I think my favorite English word changes every few months. Currently, I’d say nuance, because it continually reminds me of and anchors me in the complexity of life, perspectives, and beliefs. It was a touchstone throughout the undergraduate studies I just completed, forcing me to interrogate my presuppositions, beliefs, and arguments as well as those of the authors I was reading, the professors I was learning from, and the students I was interacting with. It’s also a reminder of the textured depth I’m always striving for in my writing.

    As for another language, there are so many. But I lived in Germany for six years and have a really deep love of that language despite having lost my fluency, so I’ll pick one from there: Fernweh (FEIRN-veyh). It’s something like wanderlust, but more specific—an intense longing to return to a place you’ve been before. It seems fitting in a way that there’s a word in German to describe my feelings about Germany.
  5. You’re on a deserted island. You have one album and one book. What are they and why?
    The album: re:member by Ólafur Arnalds. He’s a brilliant composer and pianist who plays classical fusion, and his albums are perfect for writing. This album in particular is sublime—I think it’s about as close to a perfect album as I can think of. I could listen to it forever and still be finding new layers, and the absence of lyrics would mean that I can spend my time on this deserted island trying to craft some that complement it, which seems like a good distraction.

    The book: Mink River by Brian Doyle. Doyle’s writing is simply breathtaking, and this novel tells the story of a little town on the coast of Oregon with all its myriad people and creatures and events. The way he evokes emotion and investigates the nuances of the human heart, relationships, and pain are staggering. I’ve never cried or laughed as many times as I have reading (and rereading) this book. Plus, there’s a talking crow named Moses in it, and who wouldn’t love reading that?
  6. If you could change one thing about the literary industry, what would it be?
    I think I’d love to see more kinds of literature valued. It seems that literary fiction is often seen as the pinnacle of writing, and other genres discounted as somehow less artistically, epistemologically, or culturally valuable. Don’t get me wrong—I love literary fiction. But I think that there’s truth, beauty, and joy to be found in so much other writing, be that high fantasy or experimental essays or dystopian futures or YA fiction. I believe that storytelling is an act of healing, and that, at base, all writers are trying at some level to communicate some truth that they see. I want everyone to wonder at that, be excited and curious about that, instead of throwing up walls between which genres are worth engaging with and which aren’t.

‘Aolani Robinson

  1. What is your favorite place to read?  
    My favorite place to read is in bed, covered in fuzzy blankets.
  2. You’re on a walk in the woods. It’s a lovely day, and you’re looking up at the blue sky and rustling leaves overhead—when you trip over something! It’s a magic wand! What does it look like? Do you pick it up, and if so, what do you do with it?
    It is short and unexceptional looking at first. However, a closer look reveals that its blackened wood is covered in an iridescent shimmer. I pick it up and use it to build a path to another world.
  3. How do you take your coffee? If you don’t drink coffee, describe your favorite beverage ritual.
    I prefer my coffee with as much sugar and milk as possible. The sweeter, the better.
  4. What is your favorite English word and why? Do you have a favorite word in another language?
    My favorite English word is Serendipity. I love the way it sounds and its meaning. It reminds me of the many possibilities in life.
  5. You’re on a deserted island. You have one album and one book. What are they and why?
    I would have Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll for my book. I have always loved this book due to its focus on wonder and imagination. My album choice would be White Noise by Pvris. I really like this band’s sound and I can relate to most of the songs on the album.
  6. If you could change one thing about the literary industry, what would it be?
    One thing I would change about the literary industry is the lack of diversity. While strides have been taken in recent years to expand the amount of race, gender, and sexuality-based diversity, I would love to see more people from different locations and languages succeeding in the industry as well.